Russell ‘doesn’t really understand’ Mercedes’ improved F1 pace

Mercedes struggled with extreme porpoising on its W13 car at the start of the 2022 season, leaving it unable to challenge Red Bull or Ferrari at the front of the pack.

Mercedes brought a series of updates for its car to Miami, including a low-drag rear wing and a revised front wing endplate design.

While Russell warned the updates would not provide any ‘silver bullet’ to remedy Mercedes’ struggles, he managed to finish second in FP1 before setting the fastest time of the day in FP2.

Russell’s lap of 1m29.938s saw him finish a tenth of a second clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton was a tenth clearer in fourth place.

But Russell warned it was “absolutely” too early for people to get ahead of Mercedes’ pace, admitting he had no idea why he had been so fast out of the blocks.

“To be honest, I don’t really understand why we started running,” Russell said.

“We always knew before this weekend that the conditions should suit us better, because we had a lot of trouble with the tires warming up, even in Bahrain where the track was really difficult.

“But it’s the first real hot race of the season. So for sure that played a role. The car is working well, but it’s only Friday so don’t get carried away.

George Russell, Mercedes W13 in the Mercedes garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Russell added he was “not too sure” if the updates had given Mercedes a better understanding of the development direction they were taking with the car, but acknowledged it had been a good day for the company. ‘team.

“When I came out of FP1 I was straight into the marshals office because of the pit lane incident with [Esteban] Ocon,” Russell said.

“Then directly into FP2, I was working with my engineers to maximize the setup and let the boffins figure out if that was the direction to go.

“It was definitely a very productive day for us, and probably the most productive Friday we’ve had.”

When asked what his message to Mercedes fans would be, Russell replied: “What I would say is practice means nothing, and we go back to it on Saturday.”

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Hamilton was also concerned about reading Mercedes’ pace too much and said that while the car “looked similar” with the updates, feedback from the team had been positive.

“We seem to be faster here, and later they sort of explained to us that we definitely improved in some way,” Hamilton said.

” I do not know where it is. But we still have the rebound, so we haven’t corrected it, but I think little by little, improving the car.

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